Friday, August 2, 2013

A New Normal...

(This is a temporary blog landing page as web servers for have been down at week's end.  Go to for usual blog posts.  This post will be transferred there once the web host is restored.)

Wow...What a crazy week.  It's been a good one in the realm of trafficking, as the FBI's recent crackdown resulted in 150 arrests and 105 minors rescued all over the U.S.  Also cringe worthy but good news is hearing that Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for holding 3 young women captive (Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry & Gina DeJesus.)

I rejoice heartily for these brave women & girls, and I am reminded that justice does exist especially in light of what's been divisive news lately.  While there is still much to do, it's encouraging to see our law enforcement and justice system band together to try to make a dent in this issue.

There's a key quote in the CNN article cited about the FBI's attempt to rescue young girls: "We have victims whose new normal is abuse and is drug-infected," Hosko said, explaining there is an environment of instability in which "the expectation of somebody who cares about them may last for 30 minutes or an hour before the abuse starts again."

This is why aftercare is SO crucial for long term healing when victims are rescued.   As we wrap up our month on Wellspring Living in Atlanta, I just want to leave you with some of their views in addressing the misconceptions that surround abuse.  Their book, The White Umbrella, does an excellent job...

"Stable is not always stable. Many children who are pulled out of abusive situations and placed in the care of loving families do not adjust well.  The reason for this is that their brains are conditioned to a state of "normal" that functions best in the terrible situation that they have just been rescued from....Often, creating a new and healthy 'normal" for an abused child involves much counseling and work to alter his or her templates of understanding."

"In order for us to be effective caregiver, mentors, and friends to girls recovering from sexual exploitation, we need understanding of psychological progressions they're working through."

Below are the Stages of Change as developed by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, and in light of recovery at WL.  WL states that this "helps us detect when a young woman is ready to change, and it also reminds us that relapse is a natural part of the restoration process." (*This process specifically details the complicated process of young women who have been manipulated by their pimp where they still feel a bond.)
  • Precontemplation: The girl in recovery acknowledges there are problems in her life but resists the idea of change.  She might say, "He's not my perpetrator, he's my boyfriend.'
  • Contemplation. She realizes her need for escape but cannot see a realistic solution.
  • Preparation.  She now recognizes she must make a change and begins planning alternatives to her current lifestyle.
  • Action.  She begins taking steps to address the problem, sometimes on her own, such as getting into school or therapy.
  • Maintenance.  She moves forward in her recovery and starts to feel successful.
  • Relapse.  Something triggers a crisis that causes her to return to her old lifestyle.  If she is in an an environment that doesn't support her newfound lifestyle, she tends to fall back into old patterns.
"Change, even good change, is difficult.  Each girl responds differently to the opportunity.  AS her support team, we must be the ever-present voice that cheers her on and coaches her to keep pursuing healthy change.  Ultimately, it is God who brings permanent change." 

We celebrate Wellspring Living as we close out our month on this special organization to help survivors in the Atlanta area!  We will continue to accept donations for them through the weekend at the 3for3Campaign donor site, (Aug 3-4th).

Look for all new information on our L.A. based organization Saving Innocence on Monday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New blog site

Hello All,

Just an FYI that my blog has moved! Catch up with me here at the new blog tied to the new website at This one will stay up to date on a regular basis while it's being designed, so feel free to check it out, comment, be the first to know news on my next endeavors. And don't forget to update your bookmarks!

Thanks for your support...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Life at Work

You can learn a lot by observing a simple bouquet of flowers. A few days ago my husband bought a bundle of tiger lilies (he knows how much I love different lilies and irises) that were still unopened. He does this because they'll last longer, but I really enjoy the process of watching them open. Here are a few things I've observed:

The bouquet looked a little silly and anemic at first, but I carefully cut the stems, lower foliage and food mixture anyway. I noticed one that bloomed prematurely but by the next day it had wilted and I knew I'd have to eventually cut that one off anyway.

A couple of days passed and only one or two had bloomed. They seemed like fragile little beings, and a few looked a little dingy. Still I faithfully changed the water and cut the stems.

It's now the fifth day and there are eight beautiful blooms, not even halfway through the entire bouquet but it's beginning to blossom and take shape. I don't even need to see the end result of the whole batch opening because seeing life at work is all I need.

I don't know what each one of these blossoms represents in your life, but it's crystal clear on my end. It's coming. Maybe there's an early blossom that comes but dies because of a few setbacks. But we keep going. Whatever treasured bloom it is that has yet to open is out there in existence. We just need to keep tilling and working at our part in the meantime. You can't force the flower to open - it'll just do it when it's time...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Art and Pain

In between songwriting blurbs, artist dates and immersing myself in my community of friends, I've been thinking a lot lately about the creative process. Probably within the last year or so the songs I've written for my new band have veered in a vastly different direction. In sharp contrast to the thoughtful, mellow, audible landscape of my solo efforts, the new tunes revealed a harder, more masculine sound, not waxing so much poetic but just fun to play. The dry humor and introspective lyrics were still there, but it's been freeing to be much more experimental. Still, every once in a while I would miss the ambient, sometimes feminine nature of my old self.

Without going into the tawdry details of my healing process the last two years, I can say I've arrived at a place in my life of true contentment. Not that I've experienced all there is or come near achieving all my dreams and goals. I'm just inwardly joyful and see a stabilization of several areas of my life that needed to be the focus for a while. It's all come into balance.

While I eagerly anticipate the new tunes and even the direction this band has morphed into (the ever present line-up change), I've been dialoguing with some of these jewels about what it takes to fuel creativity. (You can read my post here for a few things I've applied since last summer.) Staying in touch via twitter or Facebook, I wonder aloud now, if people think it's possible to create art or music with depth without pain.

Pain is a universal experience, something that resonates and connects with people. Countless incredible songs have been written and played. But it can also be destructive enough to stunt the creative process instead of give birth to worthwhile work. I am no stranger to this, as I probably have about 30-40 songs in my repertoire that never see the light of day because they fail to be relevant. Are they valid? Of course. But I won't necessarily write them with the intention of being performed.

Now, I will say something redemptive about all of this. I may be in a much better and happier place in my life, but I will ALWAYS remember my past. I just simply recall it without bitterness and sorrow, and dig deep into the well of that experience to formulate my current passion, which just so happens to be rooted in many social causes these days. The artist has an innate ability to empathize whether or not he or she has been through the same things. So I think it is possible.

Feel free to post your thoughts on this...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just a few can impact thousands...

This is an encouraging news story about Haiti relief with a few organizations I'm affiliated with. Under the right conditions, just a few can impact many lives! You can read the good news at

Also, on this same note, I've posted a Facebook event about an initiative to help schoolchildren in Haiti. If you're interested in learning more, click here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lessons from my niece

I never thought I'd be great with kids. The mere thought of walking into a Babies'R Us store for a shower gift creates shudders. Memories of a babysitting job I did back in college were the mental equivalent of birth control as I'd sometimes juggle three of the ankle biters at once. Plus, as a musician and artist I couldn't fathom any other children other than my songs.

But something beautiful has awakened in me as I've gotten to know my niece. I played a little with her in Paris this past summer, but over Christmas break was when she and I really forged a bond. I was disarmed by her completely unguarded nature and charming sense of play. You forget at such a young age (she's not quite 3 years old) that nothing has happened yet to jade this precious openness. Not to mention the fact that she's a GIRLY girl and secure in her innate femininity. Which side of the family she's inherited it from remains to be seen, but I LOVE that I can validate her when she looks to me or her other aunt or Mom for affirmation. Throw in the fact that her family wants her to learn French and I'd eagerly launch into singing French nursery rhymes to reading a French comic book. Here's an excerpt of the one she kept asking me to sing:

Sur le pont d'Avignon, on y danse, on y danse,
Sur le pont d'Avignon, on y danse tout en rond.

Does this mean that the parental desire is kicking in? Hardly. So much is involved in taking care of an actual life that this concept is still tucked in the back of my mind for now. But the sense of play and delight has inspired me as an artist in a way that I've often forgotten to tap into over the years. Every artist faces the danger of overthinking their work. Whereas my niece just dives into play. No worrying about whether her tea party is going to suck, or how she should draw.

I think I just came up with my next song idea...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Giving Back this Holiday Season

What an incredibly full weekend! A successful night with the new band @ Andrews Upstairs playing with the Jaspects and Van Hunt, spending quality time with my hubby and loved ones, breathing in the cool fall air and just realizing how thankful I am. It's getting close to the holiday season and I'm just reveling in how blessed I've been. There's just this inexplicable energy around me and I have a pressing desire to give back. It's a desire that's birthed within me since this past summer.

While at a music conference in July, I absorbed some great creative as well as industry advice while tuning in spiritually to what my next steps would be with music. Somehow it came to me during one of the seminars that I would become even more involved with a cause close to my heart - one that deeply affects me. I remember last Christmas hearing about a national organization that fights human trafficking and child sex trafficking both here in the U.S. as well as abroad. I was shocked at just how prevalent it was, particularly in my hometown of Atlanta. While the hubby and I gave generously, I couldn't help but feel there was something more we could do. It came back into my consciousness after my spiritual and physical recovery and I returned home from the conference determined to get in touch with the folks @ Not for Sale Campaign.

What's resulted is my involvement in a beautiful program by the Not for Sale Campaign called Season of Freedom that allows former victims and survivors to create personally made and fair-trade gifts for those interested in buying holiday gifts with meaning. The event will be held at Defoor Centre in Atlanta on Thursday Dec. 3rd @ 7 PM. There's a cover charge of $10. My band, now collectively titled Lucid Theory will be playing during the event, and several organizations such as Wellspring Living and Cards from Africa will be represented.

I'm honored to be a part of this event and look forward to blessing these incredible organizations. You can bet I'll be stocking up on gifts with a cause!